Steven Croft: Lancashire aiming for Division One title in 2016

Steven Croft
Steven Croft has spent his entire career at Lancashire

Lancashire captain Steven Croft has backed their squad to challenge for the Division One title this season.

The Red Rose were promoted from Division Two last year, while they also won the T20 Blast title for the first time in August.

Lancashire were relegated in their previous two seasons in Division One, but have won the competition as recently as 2011.

"We don't just want to survive, we want to compete," said Croft, 31.

The all-rounder told BBC Radio Lancashire: "We want to be up there. We want to finish at the top and we want to be champions.

"If we don't, then it is time to consolidate and keep our status in the division, so that would be progress really."

The rise and fall of Lancashire
2011: Division One - champions
2012: Division One - relegated
2013: Division Two - champions
2014: Division One - relegated
2015: Division Two - promotion
2016: Division One - ?

Unproven talent

Former England spinner Ashley Giles led Lancashire back to the top flight in his first season in charge after being appointed director of cricket and head coach.

With Ashwell Prince having retired and Paul Horton leaving for Leicestershire, there is an onus on their remaining batsman to replace the runs of those two this in 2016.

Ashley Giles
Ashley Giles won the County Championship with Warwickshire in 2012

"We've got an exciting player like Haseeb Hameed in the top order and a new partnership of him and Karl Brown at the top," said Giles.

"We don't know how it's going to go at the moment. We've tried to prepare as well as we possibly can.

"I think we've got a lot of talent in the squad, but some of it at the moment is unproven and you don't find out until you give those guys an opportunity."

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